The Moy Sub-committee has been established by Strathdearn Community Developments (SCD) with the specific purpose of identifying projects for funding through the Strathdearn share of the Moy Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund. A full explanation of Key Tasks, Membership and Governance can be read in the pdf Terms of Reference (493 KB) .
The event on Monday night, hosted by the Moy sub-committee, was to enable residents from Moy, Ruthven, Lynebeg and Dalmagarry to come along and meet the committee and discuss ideas on what to do with the Moy Community Benefit Fund.
Around 30 people from the area gathered in the hall over tea and biscuits. Marian Hendry, Chair of the Moy sub-committee, welcomed everyone and Richard Cooling, Chair of Strathdearn Community Developments, gave a background to the Moy superfast ‘fibre to the premises’ broadband scheme: an example of a project that invested some of the wind farm money in upgrading local services. Javier Amores from Eneco, site manager of the Moy Wind Farm, and Robert Thorburn, Openreach digital partnership director for Scotland, talked about their experience of working with the community on the scheme. Several residents talked about the difference from their almost non-existent broadband service to being able to video call relatives down south now that they can choose from speeds of up to 300 mbps.
The evening continued with the chance to discuss both current and new projects for the community. Lots of good ideas were generated, some that can be implemented right away and others to look at in the long term. There were several categories considered: Health, Vulnerable and the Elderly, Children and Young People, Carbon Reduction, Environmental, Educational and Skills Development, Self-help Groups, Sustainability, Community Regeneration and Community Buildings. However, any idea counts, big or small and the committee would like to remind everyone that their ideas matter, so keep them coming!
Just over a year ago, Moy voted to invest some of its wind farm money in upgrading broadband services in the area. Today that decision bears fruit as the first homes were connected to superfast fibre to the premise services, enjoying speeds of up to 76Mbps or even 300 Mbps if they choose. It is expected that by the end of December, every premise in Moy will be ready to connect to this service, making it one of the very first rural communities in the United Kingdom to have access to such speeds.
In early 2016. Strathdearn Community Council commissioned the Cadispa Trust to ask the people of Moy and district how money from Moy wind farm should be spent. Every household was sent a questionnaire, and a lack of decent broadband services was identified as a major concern. Strathdearn Community Developments Company investigated the available options, including wireless services via satellite or mobile phone, but concluded that the fastest, most reliable and future-proof solution was fibre cable.
SCD director James Macpherson took responsibility for this project and major credit is due to him for the speed and efficiency with which it moved forward. Under James' guidance, SCD agreed a contract with Openreach to install fibre cable to 3 cabinets around the Moy area. Broadband would then be supplied to premises via the existing copper phone lines, which would vastly improve speeds, particularly for those closest to the cabinets. However before work had begun, Openreach came back to us with an even better offer - for the same cost they would supply a fibre cable connection directly to every house, bringing even faster speeds to every single premise no matter how distant from the main cable. This offer was possible due to better methods of armouring the fibre cable which did away with the need for expensive ducting. After further consultation with Moy folk, SCD gladly accepted this order.
Since then Openreach have been a permanent feature of the Moy landscape, with vans on every corner and engineers calling at every home. The project has thrown up a few challenges but both Openreach engineers and Moy residents have been very complimentary about each other for their cooperation in overcoming obstacles and getting the job done. Last week the first batch of premises were informed their cables were 'live' and they could go ahead and make a contract with a service providers, either BT or Zen, and today the first routers were connected. Listen ... can you hear the champagne corks popping ...!
SCD have heard today from Openreach that a further 19 premises in the main Moy area will be informed tomorrow that they their cables are live and ready to be connected. The expectation is that Lynebeg will hear the same next week, and Ruthven/Dalmagarry the week after.
SCD would particularly like to thank Openreach manager Robert Thorburn, and chief engineer Robert Williamson for their hard work in making this success possible. They have been unstinting with their time and expertise - from advising about the project in general to quickly and promptly addressing the concerns of individual householders. SCD are now investigating extending this scheme in the Glenmazeran area and look forward to continuing this mutually beneficial partnership.
Advice for Moy residents about switching to ultrafast broadband can be found HERE.
[James Macpherson resigned from SCD and the broadband project is now managed by Steve Cormack, to whom any enquiries should be directed via the community website]
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